A lot of people ask me how to learn English. Sometimes they ask how long it takes to learn English. The simple answer is: “It depends!”
It depends on what you like to do, how you learn and how often you study or practice English. Which brings me to the first of my five tips for how to learn English:
This is easily the most important. You need to practice as much as possible, and for as long as possible. It’s no good to practice a lot for two or three weeks, then give up or not start again for two years, as this way you will forget most of what you learned. It’s better to practice for five minutes a day for ten years, so everything sticks in your mind.
2. Read something
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand all of what you read: it’s very useful to see the grammar or words you know or have learnt in context, so you can understand them better. Start with a magazine or a newspaper; then, if you have trouble with one article, you can just move on to the next. A 400 page book is not so easy! Try the BBC or the Metro newspaper for short articles:
3. Watch your favourite TV shows in English
Most of the biggest TV shows are American, why not watch them in the original language? Start with subtitles, then if you think you’re getting the hang of it, turn them off. It will be hard work at first, but you’ll soon get there!
4. Switch on the radio
BBC World Service is my favourite: you can get it on digital radio for free, and there are some great podcasts. You can hear accents from all round the world and really develop your listening skills!
5. Speak whenever you get the chance
It’s not always easy to get the chance to speak in English, but whenever you can, do it! Don’t be shy, don’t worry about mistakes, just speak loudly and confidently and you’ll be fine!
If you have any questions or your own ideas, just let me know!
Check out our irregular verbs application for Android if you want to do a little language practice of your own!